THE CHILL FACTOR
outdoor entertaining can be as simple or as highmaintenance as you make it, and seeing the host’s mood sets the tone for the party; you should start channelling the vibe in the planning phase. The more relaxed and present you are at the party, the sooner your guests will follow suit. so know the drill and demands up front, before you have to break form and find another corkscrew or worse, more loo paper. If you are hosting more than 10 people and it’s not family christmas, then consider getting a few waitstaff and bartenders who will provide an unobtrusive source of practical help like clearing away plates and glasses between courses. In summer, evenings outdoors take on a deliciousness that is different to the daytime lunch, but at both it’s vital to provide ample and comfy seating – a loungey mood – and easier to serve food at room temperature with very chilled drinks. The absolute non-negotiable for sunny summer lunches outdoors is shade. You don’t need to tent your entire terrace but know in advance that in the shade is where people will sit, and linger, on chairs, stools, benches or old-school wicker whilst brief spells of standing is what will happen in the sunny spots. and lastly, music. Factor the sounds into the first stage of planning, not only a playlist of no less than four hours, but acoustics, too.